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Finnish Lutheran Church See Mass Resignations over Gay Marriage

Finnish Lutheran Church See Mass Resignations over Gay Marriage

A number of people have resigned from Finland’s Evangelical Lutheran Church after the Archbishop said he supported same-sex marriage.

Finland’s parliament voted late last week to allow same-sex marriages. So far, nearly 1,200 people have registered on the “Leave the Church” website, announcing their defections from the Church.

The process to leave the Church requires a letter to the local register office.

"In spite of Archbishop Kari Mäkinen's positive comments the church's official position on same-sex marriage is negative. This has now led to a situation where liberals are also leaving," said Petri Karisma, head of the agnostics association.

Two bishops – Rt Revs Seppo Häkkinen and Björn Vikström – issued a joint letter saying that they disagreed on the issue of gay marriage, but still wanted the church to stay united.

"However, we are completely agreed that no one should resign from the church over this matter," the statement said.

Vikström added that people are beginning to protest the parliament’s decision.  

"People are disappointed and want to protest. As they cannot resign from the state or from the parliament, then at least some of that anger has been focused on the church and on the archbishop's comments," he said.

Publication date: December 1, 2014